UNDP’s Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme: Lessons Learned in Latin America

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The Gender Equality Seal for Public and Private Enterprises (GES) is a collective effort involving national governments, private sector companies and civil society to establish and achieve standards that empower women. Participating companies that successfully complete the certification requirements are awarded the Seal – a recognized symbol of gender equality in the workplace that certifies a company actively promotes equality among its employees.

The Gender Equality Seal presents opportunities for both implementing governments and the companies with which they partner. For governments, the seal represents a concrete means of mainstreaming gender equality to achieve progress reducing gender gaps. And private companies that have participated in the initiative report numerous advantages, including greater staff performance and commitment and a positive public image as a leader in corporate responsibility. UNDP lends support to both governments and companies throughout the process.

Since 2007, UNDP has supported governments and companies in Latin America participating in the Gender Equality Seal program. Beginning with Costa Rica, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile, the Gender Equality Seal program is now active in 12 countries in the region, involving over 400 companies. Designed as a means for the private sector to embrace gender equality and enhance women’s economic and social empowerment, the Seal offers help to a growing number of corporations to make their human resources management systems more equitable and gender sensitive.

The Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme for Public and Private Enterprises seeks to eliminate gender inequalities in the workplace while improving the lives of all employees and their families. At the same time, many companies in Latin America recognize that promoting gender equality makes good business sense. Increasingly, they are witnessing a broad range of benefits, including a better work environment, greater productivity and efficiency, and improved relationships among staff members. Furthermore, companies report that adopting measures related to the certification requirements has resulted in an increase in employee commitment, a reduction in absenteeism, and attracting a greater diversity of talent. And by leveling the playing field for women, economies also prosper, driving national GDP growth.

While national certification programs vary from country to country, there are certain elements of the program that transcend national boundaries.  All programs should:

  • Address and Eliminate Gender Pay Gaps
  • Increase Women’s Role in Decision-Making at Middle and Upper Management Levels
  • Develop and Implement Policies that Enhance Work-Life Balance
  • Recognize Women’s Work in All Fields
  • Eradicate Sexual Harassment at Work

“The Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme for Public and Private Enterprises is a triple win,” said Randi Davis, Director of UNDP’s Gender Team. “It empowers women, it is good for companies, and it drives development.”

Photo courtesy of: Lindsay Mgbor / DfID / CC BY-NC-ND

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